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Company fined after chemical explosion

Liverpool Crown Court heard that contractors of ESL Fuels Ltd cut into a sealed pipe using a grinder. The pipe, which was attached to a vessel, was being used as part of a waste oil recovery process at their North Blend Tank Farm. Flammable gases within the pipe ignited, resulting in the lid of the tank detaching due to pressure build up.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company was having difficulty with the waste oil recovery process which was foaming out of the vessel and filling its bund. Rather than dealing with the health and safety issue directly, a decision was taken to connect the vessel to an emergency relief dump tank to collect further foaming and this created a flammable atmosphere within the dump tank and connecting relief pipework.

ESL Fuels Ltd, based at the Stanlow Oil Terminal near Ellesmere Port, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000.

Added: 27-09-2017
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